The longevity and prosperity of businesses is largely determined by, and dependent upon, the ranking, reputation, and revenue they generate over time. There are many ways to grow your business, but developing a targeted social media strategy with highly specific objectives that are attainable, measurable, relevant, and timely is one of the most effective and essential ways to increase visibility and enhance bottom line results.
What’s [Social Media] Got To Do With It?
In short, everything! Today, internet marketing is all but a necessity for local businesses. If your brick and mortar business does not also have a robust online presence, it might as well be invisible to consumers. But, how exactly did we get here and what are the advantages of social media marketing? Let’s examine the individual components of a quality social media strategy in more detail.
Webmasters, content developers, and business owners alike unanimously agree that social media is one of the most powerful and prominent ways to target new customers, while also maintaining strong, personal connections with current or recurring customers. Unfortunately, however, new business owners and inexperienced marketers often utilize social media without first developing a clear and concise marketing strategy. At best, this is a waste of time and effort; at worst, it can be the downfall of your business if the account is not managed or monitored appropriately.
So, how do you develop a winning social media strategy? While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Set attainable goals that address the purpose of your social media marketing efforts. If, for example, your main objectives are customer retention and satisfaction, you should devise a social media strategy that reflects and supports those initiatives above all.
- Make sure your objectives are achievable and measurable. If your goal is brand awareness, for example, your first step is to decide how many mentions you can realistically get each month, and then create a social media strategy that allows you to measure and monitor your progress. Regardless of what your objectives are, they should be closely aligned with your overall business goals — and they must be quantifiable.
- Learn your audience and engage your clientele. A successful social media strategy begins and ends with consumers, so it is imperative to understand who your target demographic is and how best to appeal to them. Creating ‘buyer personas’ is an easy way to ensure that you are attracting the quality — and qualified — customers you desire.
- Keep your competitors close. Getting acquainted with the competition will make you a better, more strategic business owner because you are learning from the failures and successes of others and modifying your approach accordingly. Also, while you and your competitors may have similar messaging, try to generate original content that sets you apart.
- Choose your channels wisely. With so many media platforms at our fingertips, it can be tempting to market our goods and services on every channel. It is important to remember, however, to choose the channel(s) that most closely align with the products or services you are promoting. A fashion blogger, for example, will amass a larger following on Instagram and Pinterest than on LinkedIn or Google+. Focusing your marketing efforts on the most relevant platforms increases the probability that you will find your ideal customers, and that your ideal customers will, in turn, find you.
As social media becomes an increasingly crucial tool for business growth and development, it is necessary not only to have a refined strategy that encompasses the preceding points, but to frequently assess whether that strategy is helping you meet your short and long-term business goals.
The Importance of Auditing
One of the best ways to assess the quality of your strategy is by conducting a social media audit, which requires you to collect pertinent data from all of your social media accounts. This comprehensive evaluation of your online activity will reveal whether your strategy is in fact helping, or hindering, your business goals.
The first step of the audit is to collate metrics from all social media activity, including: advertising impressions, affiliate clicks, comments, engagement rates, followers, likes, mentions, shares, and views. Once compiled, the metrics provide valuable insights about which platforms drive the most traffic to your website, what types of posts facilitate the most user engagement, and how your audience is interacting with you on each platform.
Additional metrics to be considered include the day and time of your posts, as well as the consistency, frequency, and quality of your posts on all channels. Unless done intentionally, discrepancies across platforms can appear sloppy, negatively affecting your overall ranking, reputation, and revenue. Posting quality content on a regular basis, however, establishes customer loyalty and credibility.
Your Audit Toolkit: Measuring the Metrics
While many social media networks provide their own metrics, third-party tools like RivalIQ, SEMrush, Hootsuite, Klout, Audience, TweetReach, and HowSociable also allow you to track and monitor the health of your social media profiles. Furthermore, these auditing tools provide useful insights about your target demographic — including what they do (or what they don’t do) during their visit.
RivalIQ and SEMrush, in particular, are worth noting because they allow you to perform a personal audit as well as a competitive analysis. That is, both RivalIQ and SEMrush offer a broad overview of your competitors’ online activity so that you can see how your business (and online presence) compares to theirs.
While it is important not to fixate on metrics alone, regular social media audits will allow you to determine what is working well and what needs to be improved across the social media platforms you utilize to ensure that your business thrives. Analyze your metrics at least once a week to ensure that your social media strategy reflects both your short-term and long-term business goals. And as your objectives inevitably change over time, it is imperative that you continue refining your strategy to accommodate them.
If you need assistance developing a targeted social media strategy or even conducting a social media audit, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help! Our qualified professionals specialize in managing and maximizing clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.